Lovells has strengthened its relationship with CIBC World Markets after scooping its first European-based acquisition finance deal for the bank.
The firm has been instructed to act for CIBC, the sole arranger and underwriter, on the sale of Finnish and Baltic States baking business Vaasan & Vaasan to a private equity group led by CapVest Equity.
The mandate is a major coup for Lovells, because to date it has only advised CIBC on UK and Ireland-based deals. Most acquisition finance deals have gone to Allen & Overy, Linklaters, Shearman & Sterling and White & Case.
Adam Freeman, the Lovells finance partner leading the team advising CIBC, said: “A year ago [this deal] wouldn’t have come to us. Our relationship has since developed and they now trust me enough to do this type of deal.
“Most of the deals CIBC is involved with now are pan-European, so we need to get involved in these – otherwise we won’t get any work from them.”
Last May, Lovells acted for CIBC when it acted as sole arranger and underwriter in connection with SBC International Cinemas’ acquisition of Warner Village’s 36-cinema portfolio for £250m; and in July 2002, the firm represented CIBC when it provided debt finance in relation to Electra Partners’ acquisition of BWG, the UK and Irish wholesale distribution arm of French drinks group Pernod Ricard for £220m.
Commenting on Lovells’ role on the Vaasan deal, a well-placed source at a rival law firm attributed the instruction to Freeman’s personal relationship with CIBC, claiming: “They [Lovells] might see it as a breakthrough, but I don’t think it will broaden their relationship [with CIBC].”
Kirkland & Ellis advised longstanding client CapVest on all aspects of the deal. Partner Aaron Alt and London founding partner Stuart Mills led the overall transaction. Meanwhile, partners Lyndon Norley, Neel Sachdev and Nigel Dunmore dealt with the financing aspects, proving that Kirkland still has the finance capability following the loss of partner Bronwen Jones to Macfarlanes.